Human appreciates other human in an unclothed context; desires advice
May 24, 2020 6:38 AM   Subscribe

I am a guy who likes fat women. I've recently gotten involved with a woman who happens to be fat. I want to make sure I don't treat her as a fetish object (or make her feel like one).

(I know that people prefer different terms for larger bodies. I've chosen the word "fat". I hope it works here.)

Some quick background on myself:

Throughout adolescence and early adulthood, I didn't think of myself as having a "type". I was attracted to a range of women – which included some chubby women, but also a lot of other women. Size wasn't a specific factor for me (in either direction).

A number of years ago, however, my preferences began to shift toward larger women. (If I'm being honest: this was surely influenced, in part, by internet pornography. When an entire universe of sexual stimulation is at your fingertips, I suppose it's easy to say "oh, what's this?", and then just...keep going. Therefore, I have a folder full of JPEGs of [mostly] fat ladies, in various states of undress.)

Now, there are a lot of specific kinks in the so-called "fat admirer" community – many of which are undeniably fetishistic. "Feeding", "squashing", "belly play", attraction to extreme obesity; etc. Kinks that are – and I'm sorry that I don't have a nicer way to say this – into the fat tissue itself.

I'm not into any of that stuff. I try not to judge anyone else's sexuality, but it feels very objectifying to me – and I know that many of the women who are gazed upon thusly agree. So it's sometimes a little unnerving to see that stuff adjacent to my own interests.

I don't go around telling people about my tastes (unless they ask). I don't use terms such as "fat admirer", "chubby chaser", or "BBW". And I'm not exclusively attracted to fat women – although it is a pronounced preference. I don't think of myself as having a "fat fetish". I'm just a guy, who is attracted to women, who often happen to be fat.

Fast-forward to the present day:

I had a long-time casual friend, who is (1) a woman, and (2) fat. I guess I'd always found her attractive – but I never thought much of it, because she'd been in a long-time partnership for the entire time I'd known her.

A few months ago, we reconnected after a hiatus. I learned that she had split up with her partner several months prior. I decided to made a move, and she was into it. We've negotiated the shape of this new relationship, and (largely at her prompting) have settled into a low-key, friends-with-benefits situation (which is gradually getting more serious). It seems like we're both pretty happy.

It's the first time that I've actually been with a fat person. I didn't pursue her because she's fat – I did it because she's a fun, kind, genuine person who I find attractive.

Now, here's the heart of my question:

She has expressed shame about her body – anxiety about being naked around me; feeling like she's unfuckable; distress if she gains a few pounds; etc. (I get it – fat people, and women in particular, get a shit-ton of negative messages about their bodies, from birth onward.) She also suffers from anxiety and low self-esteem in general.

So I'm concerned that – to whatever extent she's aware of my preference for larger women – she'll feel like I'm only attracted to her because of this "fetish". That no one could ever be attracted to her except as the object of a "kink". And that they could only be attracted to her for that reason – not because she's funny, real, etc.

I have never mentioned my "type" to her (and I don't particularly plan to). I have no reason to treat her differently than I'd treat a partner of any other size.

I do tell her that she's gorgeous (because, in my opinion, she is). (At first, this seemed to make her uncomfortable – but I think she's starting to believe it.)

I dunno. It's not like I'm afraid she'll find my folder full of JPEGs or anything. But I feel that, if she did know, it would make her feel like a fetish object. And that makes me feel a bit anxious, you know? Because I don't want her to ever feel that way. And it makes me wonder, sometimes, whether I am being an objectifying creep. (I don't think I am – but that's exactly what an objectifying creep would think.)

This is ultimately a pretty small part of our relationship, but it's there. I'm probably overthinking things (which I am famously good at doing).

tl;dr: I want to do everything I can to help this wonderful lady feel wonderful about herself. Please tell me what I'm doing right, and what I can do better.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (21 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Everyone wants to be loved and appreciated for who they are. People who are outside traditional media-enforced societal norms for "attractiveness," perhaps more than most.

I have been all over the map weight-wise; never what anyone could objectively call "thin" and certainly never considered conventionally gorgeous. I will always struggle with low self-esteem. It's hard for me to accept compliments. It sounds like your GF and I have some common feelings and issues.

So I feel somewhat OK wading into this post to say- speaking only for myself)- I think in your shoes, I'd keep this to myself. Were a romantic partner to reveal this preference, I know myself well enough to allow innate low self-esteem to creep in and convince me that the only reasons you loved me/were attracted to me etc. were because I was fat. My inner saboteur is mercilessly cruel, and I would not want to give it any more power than I already have.

I'm an overthinker too, so having even a little knowledge like this would be a big risk to my spiraling brain. Would that mean if I lost weight, you'd leave me? Should I gain more weight? Will you find a fatter person more attractive someday? Etc., etc.

So for now, I will remain on Team #KeepItToYourself; YMMV of course. Best of luck to you!
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 7:17 AM on May 24 [10 favorites]

Seems like you're thinking about this in a conscientious fashion -- except that you're assuming a lot about her internal mental state. Which, I get it, is important for figuring out if you're way off base or not. But don't go treating the version of her in your head like the definitive one on an ongoing basis. Checking in, reaching out, making discoveries about the real person, making mistakes, and learning and healing from them, that's how real relationships are forged.

It seems clear that you are first and foremost interested in her as a person, and the body she wears is a nice bonus. Make sure you always treat her that way, in that order, and everything will be fine.

I'm not sure you ever need to specifically express that you like BBW as a type at any time in your conversations with her? Just talk about how you find her beautiful and show her your affection in positive ways.

Also keep in mind for your own notes that "fetish" is different from "preference" in that a fetish is technically something you require for sexual fulfillment, whereas a preference is just a nice-to-have.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:19 AM on May 24 [10 favorites]

how long have you been dating? because I think this is the sort of thing that recedes with time.

Over time, you come to see your partner much more as specifically "them" and less objectively the way other people see them... fat or otherwise. This has advantages and disadvantages.

Over time, there will be many more opportunities for her to observe you in the world, see how you respond to her, and to other women. She'll come to know your stories, hear about other women you've dated, see your truth.

I don't hear anything creepy in what you've shared, but I wouldn't bring it up: it has the potential to be perceived as something different than it is, and it's not going to be important for long. I think if you stay together it'll be much more about the two of you and much less about what other people think of her body (for her) or what other people might think about what you think about her body (for you.)
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:53 AM on May 24 [7 favorites]

I can't speak to your specific question, but personally, it would bother me to find a partner's folder of saved internet porn (and yes, probably more if the people in the photos resembled me...but also just in general. I'm not really bothered by the idea of someone browsing porn online, but dislike the idea of someone storing it.) Just something to consider. Some people might be unhappy to know that you have this.
posted by pinochiette at 8:06 AM on May 24 [3 favorites]

If I'm being honest: this was surely influenced, in part, by internet pornography.

learning that a guy had semi-consciously conditioned himself to like my type by watching a lot of porn would put me as far off as I could get, and this doesn't have anything to do with what my type is.

though it might have a little or a lot to do with what he perceives my type to be. like if your partner thought of herself as primarily a top-heavy brunette, as some people are and remain no matter their weight -- which is something that changes on its own without conscious action a lot more than shape and proportion and facial features and coloring do -- it might be pretty unpleasant to find out that you just don't see or particularly value all of the physical things she does like about herself and does think of herself positively in relation to.

I am not telling you to leave her alone or not date women you are attracted to. but don't fool yourself that this problem would disappear if you got into a different "type", if that type were just as artificially constructed for you, by you, by porn curation.

and do think about how little weight is guaranteed to remain stable. of all the physical things people involuntarily respond to (though as you say, in your case it was deliberately and voluntarily nurtured, so presumably you could change it if she changed) weight is one of the least secure or stable ones. If you want to make her feel better about herself, first, don't patronize her. second, tell her early and often that you are extremely attracted to her in large part because of how she looks, not in spite of it.** thirdly, not as early and not as often, that this attraction would remain if she gained weight and probably even if she lost it. but leave the third part out if you don't think you can sell it convincingly.

**this DOESN'T MEAN DESCRIBE HER TO HERSELF in terms that you find sexy & she finds demeaning, even if your ideology tells you she's wrong to find it demeaning. probably you don't need to be told that but one really never does know in such cases. If she says Don't stare at my X or Please don't focus on my Y when we're Zing, just say OK.
posted by queenofbithynia at 8:16 AM on May 24 [2 favorites]

I’m mentally flipping this around and thinking about my friends who are very very thin. (I’m a woman of average weight). I don’t think they would like to hear from their partner that he “is attracted to very thin women” or any similar sentiment. It would make one feel like if one’s weight changed the attraction and interest might go away, for one thing. Keep complementing HER body, rather than bodies like hers, enthusiastically and continually.

My partner compliments my body daily after we’ve been together for years. I also get positive feedback from other men. It never actually has stopped making me feel insecure about my body. I think most American women will feel insecure about their bodies as a background mental health issue for most of their lives. Don’t expect that to go away for her.
posted by amaire at 8:19 AM on May 24 [4 favorites]

It sounds like you telling her that she's gorgeous is going well, so maybe stick with that and amplify?

If you want to - and only if - you could try getting curious about her thoughts on bodies, weight, etc. Ask her what makes her feel good about her body, tell her what you like about your body. I don't know that I'd enjoy a partner making it his mission to change my perception about something - that could get into "playing therapy" which can really backfire - but you can express interest in what she thinks and how she feels, and why, and share your own experiences and opinions.

As far as porn - if you want to know how she feels about it, you'll have to ask her.

In the past, I've appreciated men (partners, not random men), letting me know that they liked my body and specific aspects of it, and that they didn't need or want me to change anything about it, and that gaining or losing weight wouldn't change their attraction for me.
posted by bunderful at 8:27 AM on May 24 [5 favorites]

I think you're doing things right and concerned about the right things.I would not tell her you actively find fatness attractive necessarily - I think your concerns about objectification get at something real about being reduced to a set of traits or body parts, about being loved conditionally based on something about yourself you don't have control over, and about being interchangeable with other people who have those traits or body parts. But it wouldn't be unreasonable to say that you think the whole social stigma around fat is nonsense, that she is gorgeous (you should absolutely keep saying this) and to keep actively showing your affection and attraction for her.

Your attraction isn't going to take away all of the social stigma and price she pays for being fat. So don't invalidate her feelings or anything like that. But you can definitely be a voice of kindness and self-acceptance and love for her.
posted by Lady Li at 8:32 AM on May 24 [4 favorites]

Tell her with words that you love her body exactly the way it is and you wouldn't change anything about it. Enthusiastically demonstrate that you mean what you say (but without crossing any boundaries she has placed or doing things that make her uncomfortable). Don't make it part of a larger conversation about your "type," but don't let the fact that you have a "type" dissuade you from demonstrating your attraction to her.
posted by srrh at 8:55 AM on May 24 [13 favorites]

Yes, I think here_is_ a serious danger of overthinking this. If you see this (your feelings about her weight, her feelings about her weight) as your problem to solve, it might gain an importance in your mind that could really be distorting. Trust your own heart to be pure, and trust her to see it in time and you'll be probably fine. It might take a while, it could be awkward for a bit, but there are no magical words or actions to resolve it at once, so don't worry too much. Time's your friend here.

For the time being, I'd recommend a light touch. Compliments, sure, but not just compliments about her looks. Compliments about her looks, but not just compliments about her curves. Just keep it balanced. And don't fret if she won't really know how to react to compliments for a while, that doesn't have to mean she doesn't believe you/that she'd need you to do anything you aren't already doing to make her believe you (just make sure to keep up the good work!). Receiving compliments about her looks gracefully is a skill she probably had little opportunity to practice.

Also consider all the ways to give someone an ego-boost that aren't compliments - laughing about her jokes, asking her for advice (and heeding it on occasion!), trusting her with secrets, giving her priority when the situation requires, a special sort of attention reserved for her and her alone. (This all might be easier once you're official, seeing how you act around her and others might help put her mind at ease).

I wouldn't know what to do with a compliment about my looks either, because it's just not something I have any practice with, yet I've been able to, once, or twice to believe that a guy might be genuinely into me. It's not about words, it's in the look. So the good news is, you're probably doing enough already. You're genuinely into her, it will come across eventually. She probably just needs some time for the evidence to mount.

The bad news is, that believing you're into her won't magically make _all_ her self-esteem issues go away. Like, it's nice for me to think that once or twice a guy was genuinely into me, but it doesn't change that much about the systemic fatphobia I'm still faced with every single day, it doesn't change the fact that were I to die of Covid 19 for instance, a lot of people wouldn't have sympathy because they'd see it as my own fault due to me weight, it doesn't change the fact that a lot of them right now are loudly protesting that protecting someone like me should be worth missing out on a haircut. I should be above minding these people's opinions, but it's not always easy when they're so loud and insistent. It's a problem you girlfriend might have too, and you alone can't solve it. Don't take on that responsibility, you'll set yourself up for failure, and that will make you feel bad, and that will make her feel bad.

We keep getting told that attractiveness is all about self-confidence, so performing self-confidence can become its own kind of pressure, which really, really sucks, when half the world is hellbent on making it as hard for you as possible. If you make her self-esteem your problem, there's a good chance you'll add to that pressure; that's going to benefit no-one.

There's much to recommend about a fake-till-you-make it strategy. Tell her she's hot like you're just stating the obvious and most importantly, act like it's obvious to her as well, no matter how much she hems and haws. I'll always remember the classmate who told me I came across as pretty sure of myself in the presentation (not sure that was intended as a compliment, actually) - of course I hadn't been at all, but that feedback was a real game-changer for me, because being able to fake self-confidence is almost as useful as actually being self-confident, and will absolutely do in a pinch.
posted by sohalt at 8:56 AM on May 24 [5 favorites]

I don’t have a full answer - except in saying you love her body and wouldn’t change a thing - well what happens when her body does change? Because bodies change. My body has made dramatic changes. I think there is a balance between complimenting someone’s physical being and them having confidence in your appreciation of them as a human soul. “YOU are sexy” feels a lot better to my ear than “your body is sexy.”
posted by Crystalinne at 9:17 AM on May 24 [17 favorites]

It sounds like things are going well! You think she's wonderful and gorgeous and you tell her so. She sounds like she really likes you and thinks you're sexy, too!

I agree with you that you probably shouldn't tell her about being into fat women generally. It just seems like there are a lot of potential ways that could go wrong.

In addition to telling her that she's gorgeous, (and funny, etc.) I think maybe you could make an effort to make really specific physical compliments when you find yourself loving something about her body.

Do you find yourself admiring the curve of her calf? Tell her. Do you love the way her hair looks in this light? Tell her. Are you turned on by the way her boobs move when you... whatever? Tell her. Love the color of her eyes when she wears that shirt? The softness of the skin on her shoulder? The way her butt looks in those jeans? Tell her.

I think that these honest, specific compliments about the small details of her body (fat-related and not, just whatever you happen to be admiring in the moment) can help her, and maybe you too, understand and believe that you think she's super sexy for all the parts of her and all the ways that she is.

Just be sure they are 100% honest. Don't search for them... just express them when you notice yourself thinking them.
posted by MangoNews at 10:05 AM on May 24 [8 favorites]

As a fat women - I don't want someone to be into me because I'm fat, but I also certainly don't want them to be into me in spite of it. I want them to be into my body because I'm me, not because it falls into their kink, or at least, not primarily because it falls into their kink.

A few things to consider: your friend has likely spent a lot of time being treated as less desirable not just as a sexual partner but as a person because of her weight. We live in a fat phobic society. Of course she will originally find it difficult when you say she's gorgeous, but if you believe she is then she will come to believe that you think so in time, so keep complimenting her.

But remember she has probably spent a long time being reduced to a (fat) body by lots of other people. So even though you consider it a positive, don't reduce her to it too. Just compliment her for being her.
posted by Laura_J at 10:23 AM on May 24 [8 favorites]

(Also - be careful about describing people as fat unless they've used the term about themselves first.)
posted by Laura_J at 10:26 AM on May 24 [1 favorite]

One thing to watch out for is non-specific compliments. When someone is used to existing outside the standards for what is conventionally attractive according to society/media, generic compliments can ring false, like the person is just saying nice-sounding words because they feel like they're supposed to. For example, "you're sexy" or "you're gorgeous" by themselves leave me pretty cold because "sexy" and "gorgeous" imply conventional attractiveness, and I am not nor do I desire to be conventionally attractive.

When someone says what, specifically, they like about me and my body, it comes off as much more genuine: "I love the way your eyes look when you smile" or "your butt looks amazing in those pants" are compliments that actually make me feel good because the person has put some thought into what makes me attractive to them.

Fair warning that this type of compliment has a tendency to ratchet up the intimacy of a relationship.
posted by Basil Stag Hare at 11:41 AM on May 24 [5 favorites]

I'm a fat/chubby/plump woman too.

I think you're overthinking this. It's ok to be attracted to chubby/fat/overweight women. I feel like you shouldn't be scared to speak the words, 'I like bigger women,' aloud. This is a society where the mere concept of being primarily attracted to larger bodies runs the risk of being automatically dismissed as something fetishistic. Ugh.

But you aren't fetishizing her body or her. You just have a type. That's fine. Consider that everyone has a 'type' and that most people's type is thinner bodies, and yet when people express that attraction out loud, no one says shit about that. It's just the default attraction mode-- even though attraction is also cultivated thanks to porn use but also media in general. I mean, are you really into 'fat' women, or are you just into women who are like 'plus size' models, which are basically the average sized woman at this point? There's also an interesting study about how various cultures have different beauty norms based on what people are exposed to, but I digress, sorry.

I, like a lot of chubby girls growing up, internalized all the vilification society placed upon my body. The concept of my body being 'wrong' is so ingrained in me even now today that it's difficult to unpack all the layers of bullshit. And yeah, that's my issue to unpack and my work to do; a partner propping up my self esteem would be a temporary fix at best, of course. But your question got me thinking to when I was a vulnerable teen and how unsexy and unwanted I felt. I wonder what my boyfriends could have said and done to ease the shame of merely just existing as a fat girl... and so I thought about it: I needed dudes willing to say, 'I like what you have and I don't really want what they're selling,' to me. Because every other message, from MTV to beauty magazines or the kid in high school that sat next to me in history and scrawled 'no fat chicks' on his folder-- making sure I would see it-- were loudly and cruelly saying the opposite to me on every conceivable level.

Guys would date me and be attracted to me, and I guess they'd show it. They'd tell me I was sexy and stuff in the heat of the moment, and I would be grateful because society taught me they were doing me a favor to even be attracted to me at all. But they weren't doing me a favor; of course not. But in not saying anything about my body beyond the 'you're beautiful' etc, it's almost like they were reinforcing that idea in my head that I should be grateful. And SO so many of my boyfriends were unwilling to say, 'I love your body as it is,' and 'I'm into girls like you, I love your squishy bits, I think you're hot just as you are' -- all of them except one, really, never told me they liked my curves. And I think of why, and maybe they were afraid to fetishize it, or maybe was an extension of the shame I felt because society did a number on them, too. Or perhaps it's because they were scared to 'own' their preference or say it out loud. So they never told me that rubbing my little belly kinda sorta gave them a boner that other women with flat stomachs did not. But I wish I had known, because trying to hide that little belly during sex for so many years is fucking exhausting.

So this is my opinion-- just own it. If you were a fetishist I would have a different opinion, but you aren't fetishizing her though. I personally think people should just own their preference for larger bodies, without shame of being judged on either side. I wonder if your kinda-gf-fwb had been told she was sexy and with a banging bod more often, then maybe she wouldn't sit there and think she's unfuckable. I know how she feels because I've felt that way too. And yeah, it can be a fine line between attraction and objectification. But people of all sizes go through that too.

If I found out my previous partners had a chubby porn preference, would I think that they only liked me because of that kink? Would I feel objectified? No. Personally speaking, I don't think so. I mean, maybe if it was a pattern where they only dated bigger ladies and so on, or maybe if they were indulging me in negative behaviors to suit them it would give me pause but... look. I'm not so down on myself that if a guy made it known he liked bigger ladies that my first thought would be 'there's something wrong with him!' or 'he only likes me because of that!' you know? I'd be happy that there were people that had a preference for what I brought to the table, rather than what society thinks people should like. But I mean, everyone is different and there's always a chance that it might hurt her self esteem to know. Time will tell I guess. But for me personally that would not be the case.

My partner has been with women of all sizes in the past, though he has a preference for slight plumpness. I have been fat and thinner around him. He's always just told me he likes bigger women. I don't feel fetishized by him, and I know if I lost weight (or gained it) he'd still think I was sexy. I don't think there's anything weird about it. I like that he likes the parts society tells me are unsexy. I'm glad he goes out of his way to compliment them. When I would get down on myself about my belly, he'd say stuff like 'I love your belly,' and stuff, and I love that. Its so refreshing to hear someone love the parts you're meant to hate and want to cut away. But he goes out of his way to make sure I know he loves me for me, he doesn't fixate on those parts-- he treats me like the whole package, and thus I've never felt like an object to him.

It might be different for her-- maybe its too early to tell. But that's my experience with it.
posted by Dimes at 1:03 PM on May 24 [14 favorites]

So okay. I belong to another group that's stigmatized, that's considered unattractive, and that's also fetishized by some people. And pretty often when someone's interested in me, it turns out that they've dated a lot of us, or been privately attracted to us for a long time.

And the thing it comes down to, for me, is "Do you think it means something about me that my body is like this?"

Like, if someone is attracted to us because our bodies make them think "slutty" or "damaged," that's a real bad sign. If they're attracted to us because our bodies make them think "omg so ~*~brave~*~ and ~*~special~*~," that's honestly still not a great sign. If they realize our bodies are separate from our personalities, and honestly just think we're pretty, that's getting pretty good. And if they're also attracted to me for some specific personal things that I don't share with the rest of us — my hair color, my smile, the way I dance — then that's the best of all.

Similarly, if a fat friend was dating a guy who was all "omg it's so hot that fat chicks just totally let themselves go and give in to the pleasure of eating," I'd tell her to RUN. If she was dating a guy who was like "You tell the funniest stories, you have a great ass, amazing style, and the prettiest eyes," I'd be happy for her even if I found out that liking big butts meant he always dated fat women. Maybe that's me projecting my experience, I don't know. But it's something to think about.
posted by nebulawindphone at 1:15 PM on May 24 [9 favorites]

I am a fat woman attracted to fat men (and women). Similarly I'm not into gainer or belly play stuff. I how bigger bodies look and feel.

I have been much smaller than i am now, and the attention I received for it did feel weird and uncomfortable. But I also have partners who is very much into how I look now. Similarly I am into how they look. But it can feel really confronting to acknowledge that. I once told a partner that even though I appreciated the very athletic and muscular body he once had, I prefer his body now. That felt very strange to him because that's not the message we ever get, and I worry it makes him think I'm into him because of the fatness. Because bodies do change, sometimes not with us in control. And I'd be into him anyway but I love that he is bigger and softer now, it works for me aesthetically and emotionally. And I think he deserves to know that his former body isn't more worthy or better than his body now, he is not a consolation prize, or a disappointment.

Similarly he is into my body - yes he also appreciates women with abs, or thinned women, but he also likes thick thighs and soft bellies. We often send each other pictures we enjoy and as often as it is some delightful tiny cosplay lady, it's chubby thighs in short shorts, and so on. I don't really recommend it as a communication method since it seems to upset lots of people, but it works for us. Same with my other partner who is queer, we send each other bear pics etc and are very open about liking bigger bodies. Again it only works because that's the kind of friendship we have and sexual contact grew out of realising our mutual appreciation of each other's bodies and selves.

In terms of compliments, we tend to be vocal about what we like specifically. The curves, or the softness, the feel of their body. One really likes the way I curve out along the lines of tighter clothes, one really likes the curve of my belly, both like the sheer kind of soft nurturing sensuality inherent in my specific body. In turn I love the curve and softness of their shoulders, the feel of their thighs under my fingers, the weight and solidity of them. The sensory interest of stretch marks, or softer skin.

I like knowing that I am not a consolation prize, I'm not a "if only you" or having to make up for my body with everything else about me. I like knowing that my partner wants to see the way I curve, wants to feel the squishy parts, wants and desires that aspect of me - that they aren't just putting up with it.

(The porn thing sounds less like 'conditioned myself' and more like 'being able to find the content I enjoy rather than the mainstream expected content' because yeah, if you like bigger bodies there isn't much out there other than internet, and it's still difficult to find non-fetishy stuff)
posted by geek anachronism at 6:10 PM on May 24 [7 favorites]

Just tell her what you like about her, including what you like about her body! What's fetishizing is being attracted to someone because you're Attracted to Fat Women and she is An Fat Women. You're not doing that! It's not fetishizing to be into someone and have part of that be thinking they're hot! Just talk to and touch her in a way that makes it clear that you're into her and part of that is you think she's hot. So for instance, "your ass looks hot in that" not "I generally like fat asses and you have one."

In short, yeah, you're overthinking it (and also fwiw you didn't condition yourself to like fat women because of porn, you sought out porn of fat women because you like fat women). Signal your appreciation by appreciating her. You're fine.
posted by babelfish at 9:29 PM on May 24 [2 favorites]

Dimes answer is better than mine could ever be, so I'll second her, and add a few things.

1. As a Jewish woman who always internalized that Jews are unattractive, I LOVE that my husband has always had a (nonexclusive, much like yours) attraction to Jewish girls. It really makes me happy. He loves me for me, of course, but I never worry that he's making an exception. Not sure if other women feel this way, but I do.

2. The only reason I would bring this up at some point is because it's clearly weighing on you. You even said in the post, it's not like I'm afraid she'll find my folder of JPEGs. It literally sounds like Chekov's gun. It's not a big deal, it doesn't have to be a big confession, because there's nothing wrong. But tell her, so that you don't have this secret weighing on you. Tell her that you adore her for her and not for being fat, but that you also happen to find fat women really hot. It's sincere and true, so I believe she's likely to hear you.
posted by namesarehard at 2:26 PM on May 25

I'm of 2 minds about this. I'm a fat woman who only dates other fat women. I'm very open about this. Part of it is that I want someone with similar cultural experiences, and part of it is that is I only find fat people attractive, and enjoy sex more with fat people. I have a friend that is also fat, only dates fat people, etc. We're both active in body-neutrality, activism, etc. On the one hand, it's ok to find fat people attractive. We are. We are a different experience in regards to sex, and liking that more is fine. I think your porn habits have, unfortunately, ruined your perspective though. You may have been drawn to viewing porn of fat people due to a natural attraction, but porn has a habit of messing with your mind, and right now there's no way to separate the fetish from the attraction.

When I was unsure about my sexuality, I was with a man who absolutely fetishized my body. At first when I didn't know it was a fetish, it was just nice to be with someone who wasn't shy about touching me. Skinny people tend to get shameful if they, like, accidentally touch a fat roll, and it is so awkward and awful. As it went on it became very obvious he viewed my body as an object. Touching "it" and not me, he didn't care if the sensation felt good to me, it was just a plaything to him. "Squishing", as you mentioned. It was insanely damaging to my psyche.

I suggest laying off porn, deleting the folder, and trying to re-program your brain. Work on be attracted to her. Your behavior and your mental position will change over time, and she'll be able to tell. Eventually it won't feel gross or fetishizing to tell her you find her body is sexy.
posted by FirstMateKate at 8:01 AM on May 26 [2 favorites]

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